Friday, September 18, 2009

Is It Selfish?

When you have kids, do you have to completely give up what you want in order to make their lives “better?”

In most every way my life has changed since I had kids. My thoughts are on them all the time – each morning I think about what they are doing that day and make sure that they are cared for 100% of the time; at every meal time I think about making sure they get fed as soon as they are hungry, and making a meal that they will like; when it comes to spending money, it always goes to them before me; I always worry about their health and trying my hardest to keep them healthy; and I have pretty much given up on staying up-to-date with any TV shows because I really don’t have time for TV. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

So of course when Kylie was old enough to start gymnastics, we put her in it. We cheered her on and re-arranged the budget so that money that was going elsewhere, now went to gymnastics. We never gave a second thought to the fact that twice a week we (as a whole family) sat and watched her for over an hour do gymnastics.

But this team thing at the other gym has really taken it’s toll on us…each time it’s a “game” trying to figure out who is going to take her, pick her up, and what to do with the boys. Because her practice starts while I’m still at work, it’s not an easy thing to figure out. And we don’t get home until 6:45, and Kylie absolutely has to be in bed by 8:30, so dinner, and some homework (she has spelling tests every Friday) – this leaves no time for playing or spending any time with her.

There are other things (like the fact that I strongly dislike the way this other gym is set up – millions of kids everywhere and it’s very chaotic) that make me want to stop this whole charade, but I have kept my mouth shut because this is for Kylie, right?

But is that what I signed up for when I because a parent? This is two nights per week that are pretty much gone for me. And I know there will be a point in the future where this will be even worse (we do have three kids)…but right now, when she’s not so happy with it (did I mention that? She looks exhausted out there all the time and is never smiling), am I allowed to be “selfish?”

I know there are people out there that would say “absolutely” in a heartbeat. There are people that only put their wants and needs above their kids (and it’s their prerogative, so I’m not bashing them at all). And then I know there are people out there that live for their kids…everything revolves around them and would say that I need to “deal with it.”

I think I’m going to get a lucky break as she wants to move herself back to the gym that’s by our house and “more fun,” so I won’t have to make the decision. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t jumping up and down for joy in my head when she told me this last night.

So what do you think? Do you think that once you have kids, your life revolves around them? Or do you think it’s OK to put your needs ahead of theirs?


Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...

My kids definitely come first most of the time. I buy for them before myself. I give in and buy junk food that I know they like (sometimes). I give up my time to help with homework and watch shows they want to watch, etc.

But, I have to make time for myself. I HAVE to. If I don't, then I get testy and that's not fair to them for me to be moody. So, I make sure that I take care of myself too. Even if it's just little things like getting my hair or nails done or soaking in the tub (without an audience, lol).

Anonymous said...

I think for a lot of people, their lives revolve around the kid(s). I also think that's not healthy.

Before we were wives, we were us. Before we had babies, we were us AND wives. Where is it written that I have to give up myself AND being a wife just because I'm a Mom?

I don't think someone's way of parenting is wrong if it's not the way *I* do it. I think it's all what works for them and their family. You want to totally give up who YOU are and what makes you YOU because you're a Mom? Have at it. Just know I will be out with my other Mom friends once a month having a few drinks and being ME.

I do not think it's selfish of you to want to give this up or move her back to the other gym. I think it's a sign of just how great a Mom you are because doing this means it's less hectic on the entire family and it means you'll get a little more time with her those notes. Plus, it means you won't be as frazzled (if that even happens to you....hmmm?! :) ) and will enjoy the whole thing more.

I totally hijacked your comments and shall hush up now ;)

Ana said...

I live my life for my 2 kids. I love them so much that I am always constantly anticipating their needs. It's a sad reality...but I barely recognize myself anymore. :(

kim said...

While I always put my kids first as well, I have just recently come to the realization that I also have to put myself first too. There has to be a balance somewhere. I think it is always the case that you want everything in the world for them--but at the "family as a whole" sacrafice?? If it is starting to cause conflict, either internally or otherwise it is time to rethink and reorgainze. Again, maybe I have too much to say on this as I again, have just come to this personal revelation myself. Good luck. I hope things work out for everyone.

Amy W said...

I guess it's a little bit of both. With two kids in activities, we have something every night of the week. (Cheer, dance, piano lessons, Girl scouts for Ashley; Dance for Audrey). But Ray and I both take time for ourselves, whether it's going to the movies with friends or weekends away. Or scrapbooking!